News

June 27, 2008

Zero Energy Home Specification Service Provides a Market Differentiator for Builders

ZeroEnergy Design Offers Service Nationally that Recommends Materials and Systems for Builders to Construct Zero Energy Homes

CHARLESTOWN, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ZeroEnergy Design, an architectural design and mechanical engineering firm, offers services to differentiate builders during the current real estate market. The firm helps builders to achieve net-zero energy performance for new residential construction projects in any location in the United States.

Zero energy homes produce as much power as they use over the course of a year. Depending on local net metering laws, homeowners often benefit with low or no utility bills on an annual basis. During a sluggish real estate market and with increasing energy prices, a zero energy home provides homeowners an attractive option typically unavailable in most markets.

The Energy Design service offered by the firm provides builders with an objective third party opinion on which improvements match their energy efficiency goals. The process requires builders to submit plans and specifications for their construction project. With this information, ZeroEnergy Design constructs a detailed energy model and delivers a tailored report containing recommended improvements specific to their design and location.

“Achieving zero energy performance is challenging to accomplish in a cost effective manner. Our firm leverages internal expertise with energy modeling, green home design, and mechanical engineering to make custom recommendations for each builder’s design, individual situation, location, and priorities,” said Jordan Goldman, Co-Founder and Engineering Principal.

The recommendations address improvements to the passive elements of a home such as construction systems, windows, insulation, orientation, and shading. Efficiency of active systems is also recommended and specified, including heating, cooling, hot water, lighting, appliances, and ventilation. Finally, renewable energy systems, such as solar electric, are specified to produce as much energy as the home consumes. Recommendations are customized for the design submitted by the builder, the site plan, the builder’s priorities, and the local climate.

“For the typical homebuyer, the appeal of a green home is magnified when they hear it will produce as much energy as it uses. As energy prices rise, we anticipate a continuing increase in demand for zero energy homes,” said Goldman.

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June 26, 2008

The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute Awards Owens Corning Masonry Products Prestigious GREENGUARD Certifications

Rigorous Indoor Air Quality Certifications Augment Other Green Advances in Products, Processes and Resource Consumption

SAN FRANCISCO, June 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute today announced that Owens Corning (NYSE:OC) Masonry Products is the first manufactured stone veneer maker to qualify for its GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified(R) and the even more stringent GREENGUARD Children & Schools(SM) product emission standards. The certifications are for the entire line of Cultured Stone(R) and ProStone(TM) veneer products. The qualifications showcase the company's continued commitment to sustainable industry leadership and stand alongside GREENGUARD certifications of a wide variety of Owens Corning insulation products, including faced and unfaced PINK fiberglass insulation batts and rolls, and Foamular(R) extruded polystyrene insulation.

GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified is a product certification program for low emitting interior building materials, furnishings, and finish systems. GREENGUARD Children & Schools is a product certification program for low emitting interior building materials, furnishings, and finish systems used in educational (daycare and K-12) environments. All GREENGUARD products have been tested for their chemical emissions performance and can be found in the GREENGUARD Product Guide(SM) at http://www.greenguard.org/.

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June 25, 2008

BOMA International and the Clinton Climate Initiative Announce Energy Performance Contract Model

Landmark model removes barriers to performing energy retrofits to existing buildings


DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International and the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) today announced a ground-breaking new BOMA Energy Performance Contract Model to allow building owners to perform major energy retrofits to the existing building marketplace by removing key barriers and providing a turnkey solution.

BOMA and CCI collaborated to develop the more efficient business model for performing energy retrofits to existing buildings to improve both the financial and environmental performance of commercial real estate while dramatically improving energy efficiency. Specifically, the BOMA Energy Performance Contract Model provides a standardized energy performance contract, similar to the American Institute of Architects construction contract terms, whereby key legal and technical provisions have been vetted by top real estate companies, energy service companies as well as BOMA legal council and experts and CCI. Coupled with other standard documents, FAQs and case studies, real estate professionals are now provided with a new solution for how to improve performance and value.

BOMA and the commercial real estate community joined with CCI, energy service companies and financial institutions to create the BOMA Energy Performance Contract Model , which provides a market mechanism that every building—regardless of age, location and type—can use to significantly improve efficiency and sustainability in public and private buildings worldwide.

"I am grateful to BOMA for their partnership in promoting energy efficiency in existing buildings," said Ira Magaziner, Chairman of the Clinton Climate Initiative. "Through their leadership in the creation of standardized documentation and tool kits for building owners and managers, BOMA is helping to remove the barriers to scaling up the global market for building retrofits."

As part of the Model, BOMA, CCI and USAA Real Estate Company (USAA) teamed up to generate an energy efficiency pilot project in the commercial sector that addresses key issues confronted by building owners looking to improve financial performance and reduce their company's carbon footprint. USAA provided two buildings for the pilot project to help develop and refine an energy efficiency building retrofit model to reduce barriers, particularly time and complexity, of such projects.

The pilot project was launched in late January 2008 and has achieved numerous successes that will be directly beneficial to the commercial real estate sector, including a demonstrated positive business case for energy efficiency improvements, and the development of a model financial structure to fund efficiency programs. Working with CCI partner, Hannon Armstrong, an investment bank specializing in energy projects, USAA, BOMA and Hannon Armstrong developed a financial structure using the assets in the building as collateral, and not the building itself, and using the guaranteed energy savings from the project to pay for the loan.

"Improving energy efficiency and financial performance is a growing priority for property owners, but energy retrofits have often been complicated, time consuming and cost prohibitive," said BOMA International Chairman and Chief Elected Officer Brenna S. Walraven, RPA, CPM, Managing Director, National Property Management, USAA Real Estate Company. "The marketplace now has an industry-vetted, streamlined, cost effective and time efficient ‘model' contract that building owners, energy service companies and financial institutions can use to facilitate the implementation of major energy retrofit projects in publicly and privately-owned buildings."

Energy performance contracting has been in place for more than 20 years, but has rarely been used in the private sector due to cost, a lengthy execution timeframe of 18-36 months and limited financing options. The new model represents a significant market shift by standardizing the contract terms and conditions whereby energy service companies are committed to lowering costs and the financial institutions are committed to extending market interest for the loans.

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June 25, 2008

D.C.’S First Design for Platinum-Certified Office Building Unveiled

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The joint venture of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC) and Vornado/Charles E. Smith today unveiled its plan for Washington, D.C.’s first office building designed to achieve U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification. LEED Platinum reflects the highest level of environmentally sustainable building design recognized by the council.

800 17th Street/PNC Place, a new 365,000 square foot office building, will be built at the corner of 17th & H Streets, NW, just two blocks from the White House. PNC’s regional headquarters and offices will occupy a portion of the building, with approximately 300,000 square feet available for lease. A PNC branch bank will be located on the retail level.

“800 17th Street/PNC Place brings to the Washington market a building that combines the highest levels of sustainable design with one of the most strategic and prestigious locations in the city,” said Mitchell N. Schear, President of Vornado/Charles E. Smith, the developer, leasing and management company for the new building.

“This high-performance Gensler-design in the heart of Washington demonstrates PNC’s commitment to the Washington region and our ongoing leadership in sustainable design and development,” said PNC Bank Regional President Michael N. Harreld.

PNC currently has more LEED-certified buildings than any other company in the world. In London on June 16, the Financial Times and the Urban Land Institute presented PNC with an international award for its green building efforts. The Sustainable Cities Award recognizes PNC’s leadership in environmental sustainability.

“800 17th Street/PNC Place, the first LEED Platinum office development in the District of Columbia, sets a new bar for environmentally responsible, quality development in our city,” said Mayor Adrian Fenty. The Mayor has recently led new legislation requiring LEED certification for DC Government buildings.

Through the collaboration of Gensler architects and green building consultant Paladino & Company, the building design envisions unique, environmentally focused attributes. These include the Eco Lobby, featuring a three-story climate wall that radiantly cools the lobby with flowing water. The climate wall parallels a glass walking bridge over the open portion of the concourse below. 800 17th Street/ PNC Place will be capped with a green roof to increase energy efficiency and filter storm water.

Completion of the new 12-story building is expected in the 2nd quarter of 2010.

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June 24, 2008

Energy Savings up to 30% and Significant CO2 Reductions

SAINT-NICOLAS, Belgium, June 24/PRNewswire/ --


- European Headquarters and Shopping Malls Follow the Example of the European Commission by Installing Sun-Resistant, Energy-Saving Window Film From Luxasolar


Following the good example of the European Commission more and more European headquarters and shopping malls have had their windows covered with Luxasolar Clear View in the fight against global warming and the rising costs of petrol. Since 2,300 m2 of windows of the European Commission DG Environment building in Brussels were covered with the sun-resistant and energy-saving sputtered window film, it has already reached its saving standards. Not only does Luxasolar make energy savings of 30% in the summer and winter possible, it also contributes to a huge drop in CO2 emissions, which cause massive amounts of greenhouse gases. The rising costs of petrol makes it so for that time span, the guaranteed return on investment is also less than 2 to 3 years.


Companies that use Luxasolar have noticed spectacular CO2 reductions:


- DHL Worldwide European Headquarters: 2,500 m2, CO2 reduction of 195,000 kg/year
- Tour Generali, 4,000 m2 - 312.000 kg/year
- Swiss Reassurance (Paris), 1,000 m2 - 70,000 kg/year
- ING Shopping Center, 1,500 m2 - 117,000 kg/year
- Toyota-Lexus Europe, 1,000 m2 - 78,000 kg/year
- Dr. Oetker Bielefeld, 1.100 m2 - 82.000 Kg/year

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June 24, 2008

Queen City Square Commits to 'Green' Design and Practices

Skyscraper designed to be LEED-Certified

CINCINNATI, June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Eagle Realty Group today announced that the Great American Building at Queen City Square, its new office building set to commence construction this summer, is registered for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification with the U.S. Green Building Council. Eagle, the real estate investment and property management subsidiary of Western & Southern Financial Group, aims to establish a new standard for environmental responsibility in the region by constructing one of the first and largest LEED-certified office towers in the nation.


The skyscraper now adds "greenest" to its list of superlatives which includes newest, tallest and largest office building in downtown Cincinnati. The 41-story, 825,000 square foot building aims to garner the LEED-Core and Shell (LEED-CS(R)) certification. The Core and Shell rating evaluates the entire project except for the interior spaces of tenants.


World-renowned architect Mr. Gyo Obata, founding partner of Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum (HOK), led the design team for the project and its inclusion of a large number of environmentally responsible elements. For instance, the office tower will feature high ceilings and floor-to ceiling windows to allow maximum daylighting, and the use of specially coated insulated glass to avoid unwanted heat transfer between inside and outside the building. Each floor will have its own dedicated air-handling unit to provide proper heating and cooling, and monitors will automatically introduce more fresh air when necessary. The design team also has specified the use of many sustainable components, such as materials with recycled content, carbon dioxide sensors and low VOC paints, sealants and adhesives. Additionally, the project's central location, use of energy and water conservation techniques, and inclusion of alternative transportation provisions combine to create a higher quality indoor and outdoor environment for Queen City Square occupants.


Mario San Marco, president of Eagle Realty Group, said, "We are committed to serving as a catalyst for growth and advancement in downtown Cincinnati and the region. Not only do we believe pursing the LEED Certification is important to tenants, we also know it's good for our community and, simply, it's the right thing to do."

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June 23, 2008

Dellis Cay Private Island Marks Official Groundbreaking with Ceremony and Weekend-Long Celebration

DELLIS CAY, Turks and Caicos--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On Friday June 20, 2008, Dr. Cem Kinay, Chairman and CEO of O Property Collection (OPC) hosted the groundbreaking ceremony and weekend-long celebration for Dellis Cay, a private island located in the Turks & Caicos, British West Indies. Festivities on the exclusive island began with a traditional blessing of the land, and the first shovels being dug into the ground by Dr. Kinay himself. The evening was highlighted by sunset cocktails, barefoot island tours, a fireworks display and regional musical entertainment.

In an emotional speech given by Dr. Kinay, he spoke “I was a medical doctor so I know about the heart and how it beats, and when I first walked onto Dellis Cay my heart skipped a beat.” He concluded his welcoming statement with a surprise announcement promising that he would not only create a masterpiece of an island, but that he would contribute to the social and economical development of TCI as a whole by creating a new school in North Caicos. Memorable speeches by the Premier Honorable Dr. Michael Misick of TCI and Jorge Gonzales, Executive Vice President of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Southern & Caribbean, followed.

The remainder of the weekend included in-depth boating tours, sailing lessons, snorkeling excursions and samplings of local cuisine. The international guests were flown in via private plane from various countries around the world, and included Dellis Cay buyers, art collectors, Dellis Cay supporters, other essential TCI developers and the local community. Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta Jones, Ed Razek of Limited Brands and Nasir & Nargis Kassamali of Luminaire were amongst the island’s first purchasers.

This groundbreaking marks the official start of construction for Phase IA of the island, designed by architect Piero Lissoni, which will open in early 2010. This first phase includes the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Dellis Cay, The Residences at Mandarin Oriental, Lissoni Beach House Residences, Lissoni Beach Villas and Lissoni Ocean Villas, all of which have sold. The comprehensive Spa at Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay, designed by Kengo Kuma, will span 30,000-square feet and feature 15 individual rooms and 2 VIP couples suites and state-of-the-art heat and water treatments.

The next residences to be offered for public purchase will be Villas by Shigeru Ban. Debuted at Art Basel 39 in Basel, Switzerland in earlier this month, these villas remain true Ban’s signature elegant style, but he explains that each also “aims for the closest possible relationship between the interior space the predominant presence of the ocean.” Each villa includes its own over-water pavilion, which is a complete self-contained house in itself, and links to each main villa by private bridge.

Also previously unveiled in January 2008 was Zaha Hadid’s singular D villa, a one-of-a-kind residence which is spatially radical and contrasting, distinctive to Hadid’s design platform and currently available for purchase. She has been commissioned to oversee the Dellis Cay Master Plan and design a futuristic lifestyle zone which includes luxury residences, beachfront villas, a commercial building with restaurants and boutiques, a marina and lighthouse.

Dellis Cay is a 560-acre private island that is focused on unparalleled service and innovative design. The exclusive island will provide one of the most comprehensive luxury living experiences anywhere on earth and unparalleled opportunities for exceptional home ownership.

The world-renowned architects who have been commissioned to design various residences and facilities on the island are Zaha Hadid (London); David Chipperfield (London); Kengo Kuma (Tokyo); Shigeru Ban (Paris/Tokyo); Piero Lissoni (Milan); Carl Ettensperger (Singapore) and Chad Oppenheim (USA). “It is under truly rare circumstances that the most recognized architects, designers, and hoteliers from around the world will collaborate together, creating a cohesive architectural vision to bring O Property Collection to life,” said Dr. Kinay. “Our ability to unite this array of unique talent is what enables OPC to create the most innovative, design-driven luxury destinations in the world.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands are located 575 miles south of Miami, Florida, and comprise eight major islands and numerous uninhabited and protected cays. Featuring the third-largest coral reef system in the world, the surrounding pristine waters are the playground of humpback whales, dolphins, turtles and manta rays, and are a haven for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Dellis Cay, adjacent to Parrot Cay, is accessible by private boat from the international airport on Providenciales on the main island of Turks and Caicos. Direct flights are available from Miami, New York, Boston, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Toronto and London.

The O Property Collection (OPC), founded in 2005 by Dr. Cem Kinay and Oguz Serim, is an international property development company that invests in, develops, and manages premium real estate properties. This group seeks to establish an unprecedented level of design and service excellence across a variety of geographic territories. Dr. Kinay has previously launched Magic Life Group and was awarded Austria’s Man of the Year in 1997. He was honored with the State Medal of Austria in December 2006.

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June 20, 2008

Recycling Existing Buildings Becoming ‘Green’ Alternative

La Jolla Pacific Expert Will Address Risks on Multifamily Trends Panel in San Francisco, June 24

PCBC 2008
SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A welcome trend is taking place in the quest for more sensitive, sustainable development: rehabilitating and renovating existing buildings into new, energy-efficient multifamily housing. Yet applying new methods to older structures can present risks that may have unforeseen impacts, according to Don Neff, president of La Jolla Pacific, Ltd., a national consulting firm advising builders on making the move to “green.”

Neff will address these issues on a panel themed “New Life for Old Buildings: Why Recycling Buildings Is Green,” scheduled for Tuesday, June 24, from 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Multifamily Trends Conference, a national conference presented by the Urban Land Institute and PCBC®, June 23-24, 2008, at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

“There is always a risk in incorporating new products and techniques, even in new construction,” said Neff. “Rehabbing an existing structure presents even more challenges, such as ensuring that the trades and construction schedule do not compromise the integrity of the building during the rehab process, and that the new products and technologies will function in harmony with existing systems.”

By recycling and reusing much of the existing building materials and creating more energy-efficient, higher-performing buildings, developers are adding a new facet to the goal of sustainable communities. However, the top risk areas associated with new construction are commonly seen in building renovations as well, particularly water intrusion.

“Knowing the risks and having performance guidelines and inspections will minimize the potential for construction-defect litigation and maximize the probability of a good outcome,” Neff said.

PCBC, the largest regional builders’ show in the nation, is presented each year by the California Building Industry Assn.

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June 18, 2008

Be Prepared: Hurricane Season is Here and Window Protection is Crucial

Professionally Installed Safety & Security Window Film Eliminates Flying Glass, Wind and Water Damage that Results from Unprotected Broken Windows

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Hurricanes are terrifying and threatening winds whipping at 100 miles per hour turn windows and doors into the most vulnerable part of any building and a formidable danger to occupants. When glass is impacted by hurricane-force winds, flying shards of broken glass are strewn throughout buildings, injuring people and property inside, and allowing the elements to reap havoc on the interior.

This year, experts are predicting an above-average hurricane season making now the time to take preventative steps to protect your family, and property, from the damage that comes with these powerful storms. A cost-effective investment in the professional installation of Solar Gard® Armorcoat® safety and security window film is a proactive way to protect people and property throughout the year and especially during the hurricane season, which runs June 1 through November 30.

“With such a high number of hurricanes anticipated for this storm season, now is the time for homeowners and property managers to take action by having window film professionally installed on their structures,” states Kathryn Giblin, Vice President Global Marketing for Solar Gard Armorcoat. “Solar Gard Armorcoat safety window film protects your family and employees from the hazards of flying glass shards, and can include the added benefit of year-round protection against the sun’s harmful UV light with its solar control features.”

Solar Gard Armorcoat window film is proactive, requires no maintenance and includes significant warranty coverage. Unlike temporary and last-minute measures such as plywood, Solar Gard Armorcoat window film is an investment in the overall value of your home or building as it provides a clear line of vision year-round, protects against UVA-UVB rays and smash-and-grab theft. Solar Gard Armorcoat exceeds some of the most stringent government and consumer testing standards and is made from high-tensile polyester and ultra-strong mounting adhesives. These high quality materials hold glass together, minimizing glass-related injuries and property damage. Installing safety window film not only reduces costs associated with disaster management, but it may also alleviate insurance costs depending on the location, type of windows/coatings and individual insurance agency

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June 18, 2008

Weichert Forecasts a Housing Market on the Rise

-- Real Estate Pioneer Calls the Bottom of the Market and Expects Home Sales to Begin Showing Modest, Steady Increases --

MORRIS PLAINS, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As president and founder of Weichert, Realtors, one of the nation’s largest privately-held real estate companies, James M. Weichert has seen his share of market shifts. In fact, Weichert has become quite efficient at predicting changes by regularly studying the factors that shape the housing sector. Yet, this well-respected industry pioneer has never felt so strongly about a market shift that he would come out and declare so publicly – until now.

In a message to the company’s nearly 18,000 sales associates as well as approximately 2,000 employees, Weichert announced that “we have reached the bottom of the housing market and will soon begin to see improvements.”

“We saw an extraordinarily hot market at the start of the decade like we may never see again. I knew in May 2005 that we had reached the peak of the market when mortgage payments began to stretch beyond buyer affordability,” said Weichert. “Now, everything I am seeing is telling me the worst is behind us and we’ll begin to see a gradual increase in sales activities.”

Weichert acknowledges that the recovery will happen at slightly different times and at different rates throughout the country because real estate remains a local business. “I recognize that some areas locally and some states nationally are not there yet, but by and large, we are turning the corner.”

As is typical in real estate, the Northeast appears to be the first area heading in to a new market. In many states, home sales are increasing slightly month over month and the home supply is waning. At the same time, interest rates remain historically-low, foreclosures are on the decline and mortgage money is becoming more readily available again.

Perhaps the biggest factor Weichert feels points to a market on the way back up is the increase in buyer interest. “There is just a lot of pent-up demand right now. We are seeing more traffic to our Web site, more people coming to our Open Houses. Despite the downturn the past few years, life goes on. People continue to get married, have kids and change jobs and buying a new home often goes hand in hand with these life milestones.”

To support his belief that the market is now on an upswing, Weichert will incorporate in to its current print and Internet advertising a message to buyers: “You might be guessing, but we’re sure. Now is the time to buy.”

“I know there are a lot of interested buyers who have sat on the sidelines the past few years either because they lacked confidence in the market or because they were hoping to time their purchase perfectly and buy at the lowest point possible,” added Weichert. “I would tell those people there is no more reason for uncertainty or hesitation.”

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June 16, 2008

World-Class Art On Permanent Exhibition At Surfside Narragansett

Gilbane Development Collaborates With Renown and Award Winning Artists to Bring the History of Narragansett to Life

PROVIDENCE, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gilbane Development Company, a privately owned real estate development firm, is introducing the latest elements of its Narragansett Pier redevelopment - including the luxury waterfront community Surfside Narragansett - this month. In addition to its energy-efficient Green Building design, Surfside features unique works of art - including bronze sculpture by renowned British artist Hamish Mackie, and a one-of-kind, handmade, 80-foot stoneware and porcelain mural created and installed under commission, by recent Pell Award winner Peter Gessier, and noted Rhode Island artist Mika Seeger.

The mural, which took over a year to complete and has become known as “The Waves of Narragansett,” articulates the history of Narragansett using six distinct vignettes. The artists did exhaustive research on the origins and history of the area, including months of interviews with local historians and Native American tribal leaders, and reviews of archived info at South County Museum. Scenes depict the evolution of Narragansett, from imagined pre-history, to the life of early inhabitants, to the heyday of ocean commerce, and, finally, modern day Narragansett – restoring its harmony with nature. The work is permanently installed in the stonewall made of native Narragansett stones and amongst the lush landscaping which highlights the beauty of the scenes and distinguishes the Surfside property.

“We believe we have captured the essence of Narragansett with this installation,” said Mika Seeger, well known for her contributions to the arts in Rhode Island – both as artist and patron. “No one can completely capture the history of such an abundantly rich place. Our work only passionately tells a story of a place and its people,” Seeger added.

“Narragansett captures one’s imagination, from its rugged shoreline to its historic buildings, and natural beauty,” said Peter Gessier, 2008 Pell Award Winner for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts. “This work was inspired by the unique beauty and history of Narragansett, and is now a unique part of that history,” said Gessier.

Gilbane Development will host several events in the coming weeks, to inaugurate the entire Narragansett Pier Village, and to invite all to see the art and splendor of Surfside Narragansett. A model unit is currently open, featuring furnishing by Restoration Hardware, and decorated throughout with unique artwork created by local Narragansett area artists.

Narragansett Pier Village and Surfside Narragansett are designed to create a better sense of community, and to bring building exteriors into harmony with traditional Narragansett seaside architecture. It incorporates Victorian shingle-style architectural elements, and landscaping that includes private hedges and stonewalls that highlight the seaside look and feel of the community. A gourmet market, café, wine and spirits shop, and a casual fine-dining restaurant, have already opened their doors.

In addition to Surfside Narragansett, Hamish Mackie’s work is on exhibit, extensively, throughout the United Kingdom. Hamish, a member of the Royal British Sculptural Society, has installed for major solo shows in Europe – and has completed commissioned works for major corporate organizations, and members of the British Knighthood, as well as Rock & Roll legends. His preferred medium, and most famous work is sculpture in bronze – like the work installed at Surfside.

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June 13, 2008

Mr. Handyman Helps Community Save Money, Reduce Wasted Water & Energy

ANN ARBOR, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--(Grassroots Newswire) Mr. Handyman, the national home repair and maintenance franchise and the nation’s No. 1 employer of handymen, is leveraging its access to hundreds of local households with practical energy-savings solutions that could effectively decrease water usage by millions of gallons each month and significantly reduce the region’s energy consumption overall.

As part of the campaign, Mr. Handyman has developed a checklist of simple, eco-friendly tactics and product suggestions designed to reduce energy costs, which will be provided to the hundreds of homeowners that regularly hire Mr. Handyman for maintenance and repair services. Mr. Handyman has also contracted with TV celebrity Richard Karn (Al Borland from the 1990s ABC sitcom, Home Improvement) as its company spokesperson to assist in the energy-savings effort.

Below are some of the tips Mr. Handyman offers homeowners. All statistics were provided by the U.S. Department of Energy:

Installing ceiling fans could cut air conditioning costs by as much as 40 percent in the summer and will save on heating costs in the winter, by circulating warm air down from the ceiling.

Fixing a single drippy faucet could save up to 212 gallons of water per month.

Installing low flow toilets could save up to 3.5 gallons per flush.
Replacing old light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs will save on the lighting bill and the bulbs last 8 to 12 times longer. Changing only five bulbs could save 50 percent on annual lighting costs.

Sealing cooling and heating ducts with duct wrap or mastic sealant could save as much as 25 percent on the energy bill.

Replace shower heads with low-flow shower heads could reduce your water usage by 20,000 gallons per year.

Insulating hot water pipes will save money on water heating costs, and will conserve water since it will take less time to receive warm water at the faucets and showers.
Installing shades and drapes will block light on hot sunny days and keep cooling costs down.

Insulating the hot water heater can reduce CO2 emissions and save around 4 percent to 9 percent in water heating costs.

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June 12, 2008

Group Solar Effort Provides Significant Incentive, According to American Solar Electric

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Several dozen homeowners in the PebbleCreek Community in Goodyear, Arizona are making the move to solar power and saving money in the process. By consolidating their buying power under American Solar Electric’s “Sunny Community” discount program, the homeowners have saved a combined $17,120 on the installs.

In all, 180 kilowatts of solar electric power will be installed. American Solar Electric, Arizona’s leading solar electric system design-build firm, has been contracted to perform the work. Each homeowner, depending on the system size, will save between $600 to $1,700 (an offset of 30% to 70%) on their electric bill in the first year the system is in operation.

Homeowner Dru Bacon initiated the group purchase program with American Solar Electric. “I founded an Environmental Club in PebbleCreek to raise community awareness of actions that individuals can take to aid the environment and save money for homeowners. Photovoltaic (PV) roof panels fit that vision perfectly. I expect electric power rates to rise dramatically in the next few years and homeowners will be scrambling to install PV panels. Homeowners that install PV panels now are ahead of the curve,” said Bacon.

These combined systems are estimated to produce 306,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. Over the life of the systems this equates to offsetting 13,112,100 pounds of CO2.

“We are excited to kick off the Sunny Community group purchase program in PebbleCreek. It is with this bulk purchase that we can offer group discounts due to increased operating efficiencies and we look forward to working with other Valley communities in an effort to expand the utilization of our most abundant, clean, and reliable energy resource—the sun,” said Sean Seitz, President of American Solar Electric.

Prior to opening the Sunny Community group purchase program, American Solar Electric had installed a handful of solar electric systems in PebbleCreek. One of the systems was installed on the roof of Mike and Janet Knudson’s home. Commissioned last November, the system has exceeded the Knudsons’ expectations. “We have seen an 80% savings over last year and are very pleased. Most of the time when we buy something it is oversold and under delivered, but this is not the case with this system,” noted Mike Knudson.

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June 11, 2008

Lumeta Launches Innovative Line of Residential and Commercial Solar Panels

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Lumeta, Inc. today announced the European launch of its full line of Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) modules for the residential and commercial markets. Manufactured by Suntech, one of the world’s leading photovoltaic manufacturers, Lumeta integrated solar modules become a part of the roof, creating clean, renewable energy without compromising the aesthetics and functionality of the roof system.

Developed by the leaders of parent group DRI Companies, California’s premier roofing contracting company, Lumeta was designed to integrate with most major flat and profiled roof systems and remove existing barriers to solar adoption.

“Our 30 years of experience in the roofing industry has enabled Lumeta to design lightweight, easy to install, and aesthetically pleasing solar modules,” said Timothy Davey, CEO of DRI Companies. “The Lumeta products will change the way commercial and residential building owners perceive solar.”

Lumeta PowerPly modules save balance of system costs (BOS), as well as installation time and costs as a result of its “Peel and Stick” technology. The S and Flat Tile panels blend naturally with the architectural design of residential homes by replicating the existing aesthetics.

“The solar industry has experienced record growth in recent years, but there’s still been a challenge in reaching customers who are looking for something different,” said Stephen Torres, Chief Operating Officer of Lumeta. “Our BIPV solar modules represent the cutting edge in solar technology – the perfect marriage of form and function. Finally, homebuilders have access to solar modules that become a part of your roof rather than a burden on it.”

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June 11, 2008

Yes! Solar Solutions Secures Contracts and Begins Construction of Solar Systems for Three Affordable Housing Developments in Monterey County

The Projects for the Housing Authority of the County of Monterey (HAMC) Total 210 Kilowatts

ROSEVILLE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Yes! Solar Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of Solar Power, Inc. (“SPI”) (OTCBB:SOPW), is scheduled to begin construction on three contracts executed by SPI with The Housing Authority of Monterey County (HAMC) in Salinas, California. The three developments are located in various parts of Monterey County and ultimately represent 166 apartment units and associated common areas. The photovoltaic (PV) solar systems being designed and installed by Yes! Solar Solutions will provide a combined total of 210 kilowatts of photovoltaic (PV) powered electricity and will serve the electricity needs of most of the apartment units and the common areas of the three developments. The three developments are formally known as The Monterey Street Apartments, Fanoe Vista Apartments and the Benito Street Apartments and are located within the communities of Soledad and Gonzalez in Monterey County, California.

“These projects represent a continuation of our work within the affordable housing industry and with HAMC,” said Todd Lindstrom, President of Yes! Solar, Inc. “Most recently we completed a retrofit project for HAMC, converting their Rippling River development in Carmel Valley, California to PV solar with a 32 kilowatt system. To date, including new buildings and retrofits, our company has completed nine major affordable housing developments representing approximately three quarters of a megawatt of installed and contracted PV solar systems,” Mr. Lindstrom concluded.

“Yes! Solar Solutions has done a great job for us, and because of our positive experience with photovoltaic solar systems on our developments, we are planning to include solar in all of our future projects,” said Starla Warren, Director of Development, with The Housing Authority of Monterey County. “In addition to the environmental benefits solar delivers, the economical sustainability of photovoltaic solar allows us to better serve our constituency,” Ms. Warren added.

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June 10, 2008

Visionary HOPE VI Supportive-Housing Community is a National Model

STAMFORD, Conn., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- At what may be the first supportive-housing community of its kind in the United States, City, State and community leaders join today to dedicate a striking new building that serves both as a testament to tenacity and hope, and a model for assisted housing that housing authorities and municipal planners across the country should be emulating.


Mayor Dannel P. Malloy, Congressman Christopher Shays, Lt. Governor Michael Fedele, and Senator Andrew McDonald joined the Stamford Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, City leaders, residents and invited guests this morning at 10:30 a.m. ET for the dedication of the City's visionary new supportive-housing community, the HOPE VI Post House Apartments.


Post House Apartments include 10 public housing apartments and 50 apartments receiving project-based Section 8 rental subsidies. In addition to many special features and handicap accommodations, Post House includes on-site case managers, who have been working with local residents for several years to help them achieve stability, independence and self sufficiency. These case managers play an integral role in Stamford's efforts to support residents through personal counseling and an array of services dedicated to strengthening and dignifying this population that so often is ignored or stigmatized.

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June 09, 2008

Super Deals from Short Sales? The Myth vs. Reality

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With foreclosures dominating the news these days, plenty of people tout short sales as THE solution for homeowners in financial straits and their lenders.

“Words of warning, however: Not all short sales and those who tout them are legitimate, and even if they are, a short sale can be a long, tedious, and not always successful process,” says Alexis McGee, foreclosure information expert, educator, and president of California-based information specialists, ForeclosureS.com (www.foreclosures.com).

In a short sale, the defaulted owner sells the home to a third part for less than the amount owed on the mortgage and the lender forgives the difference. The lender and defaulted property owner avoid foreclosure and the third party gets a property at what seems to be a discount.

In the month of March approximately 18% of homes sales were “upside down” — the selling price less than the loan amount, according to an informal survey by the National Association of Realtors.

Among the issues with short sales:

* Banks take many weeks to respond to an offer.
* Mortgage servicers, which must approve a short sale, balk at the purchase price. (Mortgages often are packaged and sold to investors who may have to approve the short sale, too.)
* Homeowners can have more than one loan on the property, complicating and further slowing the process.
* Volumes of documentation are required.
* Homeowners must show real hardship as reason for the debt forgiveness.

“With the latter, a homeowner simply wanting to skip out on repaying the full amount owed isn’t good enough,” says McGee.

“Another complication,” says McGee, “Mortgage servicers like to verify a proposed short sale is an ‘arm's length’ transaction between two parties rather than a sale to a relative or someone else on sweet terms.”

Adding to the hassles, short sale success rates are low. “In the Sacramento area, for example, I have found that only about 10% of short sales actually close, compared with 90% for a traditional purchase,” says McGee, also author of The ForeclosureS.com Guide to Advanced Investing Techniques You Won't Learn Anywhere Else (Wiley) and The ForeclosureS.com Guide to Investing in Pre-foreclosures Without Selling Your Soul (Wiley).

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June 06, 2008

Equity Thru Energy Offers Innovative Energy Saving Programs for Restaurants and Commercial Property Pool/Spa Owners

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Equity Thru Energy (ETE) (www.controlledenergysavings.com), a leading energy management firm, today announced two programs with no cost to the user. The programs are designed to curb energy usage and expenses at restaurants and properties with commercial pools and spas.

“These are very exciting programs that typically will save qualified owners 10 to 35 percent on their utility bills, and will help conserve energy – at no cost to them. It’s a win-win situation and we are very pleased to be tasked with bringing this to business owners in the San Diego region,” said Tom Debin, CEO of Equity Thru Energy. “This innovative technology creates green solutions through reductions in emissions.”

ETE is providing two different programs, one for restaurants and one for pools and spas. In both cases, ETE will install controllers and provide Web-based monitoring at no cost, provided they are installed by December 31, 2008.

The M2M Controls program for the restaurant industry optimizes gas and electricity usage by monitoring temperature of domestic hot water, internal heating/air conditioning and balancing of ventilation hoods. Programs are installed in the controller, which is monitored through a Web-based site that allows the user to remotely modify their site-based controller.

The second program, Smart Controls for Pools and Spas, is for commercial and multi-family property owners. The program reduces heating costs by lowering gas usage, reducing electricity needed for pumps and filters, and providing lower maintenance and equipment replacement costs. Further, natural heating from the sun is considered in the controlling programming and helps to maximize energy use reductions. Operations are monitored through the Web-based site.

Through monitoring and adjusting energy use, the programs have the proven ability to prevent waste and cut costs on energy bills. Inefficiencies and operating problems are easily identified and corrections made on a timely basis. Data collected is available on a Web-based site and can be assessed by ETE and the property owner. Notices of equipment malfunction are sent to the owner by e-mail, text messaging or telephone.

Those who own or manage restaurants or pools and spas may arrange for an ETE representative to visit their sites. Call 877-352-0606 for further information or to request a personal visit.

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June 06, 2008

Rain Bird Releases Lawn and Garden Water Conservation Tips for California Homeowners

Governor Schwarzenegger Declares Drought Conditions, and Renews Call for California Residents To Use Water More Efficiently in Their Garden and Landscapes This Summer

AZUSA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In the face of below-average rainfall, very low snowmelt runoff and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s declaration of statewide drought conditions, California residents are now being called upon to reduce their water usage. As State officials take immediate action to address California’s water situation, homeowners are being asked to do their part by using water more efficiently both inside and outside the home.

Rain Bird, the world’s leading manufacturer of irrigation products, is helping homeowners by providing a few watering tips that homeowners can apply to use water more efficiently and effectively in their gardens and landscapes this summer.

Water In Short Cycles. The greatest waste of water comes from watering your lawn too much, too often. When too much water is applied to landscapes, most of the water is never absorbed into the ground. Instead of watering for one long period of time, turn your sprinklers on for several short time periods, allowing the roots to absorb the water, and eliminating run-off.

Reset The Lawn Mower. Allow grass to grow longer by setting your mower on the highest height setting. Longer grass will provide more shade for the soil and roots and keep the soil moist for a longer period of time.

Time Your Watering. Make sure you turn on your sprinklers at the appropriate time – between 5:00 AM and 10:00 AM – when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool. Watering your landscape in late morning and mid-day is much less efficient, as irrigation water will be lost due to evaporation from wind or the sun. Watering in the evening is not recommended either because standing water on grass and leaves create the perfect breeding ground for fungus and mosquitoes. By watering in the morning, leaves and turf have a chance to dry out during the day.

Drip It. When it comes to keeping individual trees, flowerbeds, potted plants or non-grassy areas healthy, drip irrigation will put water directly at the root system. When it comes to watering individual trees, flowerbeds, potted containers, or other non-turf areas, consider applying water directly to the roots using low volume drip irrigation. This will reduce water waste through evaporation or runoff, and will help prevent unwanted weeds from growing.

Mulch It Good. A great way to conserve water and help plants stay healthy is to spread mulch in shrub beds, tree rings and flower gardens. Mulch, also known as "top dressing," is a protective covering that is placed around the base of plants, preventing evaporation and weed growth. Mulching helps drainage, encourages root development, improves soil by making nutrients more available to plants and cools the soil - reducing water use during hot summer months.

Only Water What Grows. Sprinklers should be regularly checked to ensure that they water grass and plants, not sidewalks and driveways. A well-adjusted sprinkler will spray large droplets of water, and not a fine mist, which minimizes water lost to evaporation and wind drift.

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June 05, 2008

DECRA-SEAL™ Provides a Totally Clear Membrane for Decorative Concrete Surfaces

Hampshire, IL – DECRA-SEAL from W. R. MEADOWS is a non-yellowing, acrylic-based, high solids, liquid curing and sealing compound for decorative concrete. The product is clear, transparent and easy-to-apply. DECRA-SEAL also offers improved resistance to water, alkalis, mild acids and petroleum spirits. The product has been formulated to seal and protect decorative colored concrete by producing a hard (yet flexible) clear film. DECRA-SEAL meets the maximum VOC content limits of 700 g/L for concrete curing and sealing compounds as required by the U.S. EPA Architectural Coatings Rule. This product is specifically formulated for the residential decorative concrete market.
DECRA-SEAL is designed for various applications, including exterior concrete surfaces, driveways, patios, swimming pool areas, exposed aggregate, as well as any exterior surface where protection and sealing of concrete is desired. The use of DECRA-SEAL on any exterior concrete surface provides a durable, long-lasting finish that has improved resistance to chemicals, oil, grease, de-icing salts and abrasions.
DECRA-SEAL is available in one-gallon cans (six per carton) and five-gallon pails. Also available is DECRA-SEAL W/B, a water-based version providing an exceptionally low VOC content.
For more information on DECRA-SEAL and DECRA-SEAL W/B, call (847) 214-2100, e-mail wrmil@wrmeadows.com or visit www.wrmeadows.com.

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June 04, 2008

Heath Construction Builds Live-Fire Training Facility for Loveland Fire Rescue Department

Loveland’s First Structural Burn Building is Heath’s Latest Municipal Project

FORT COLLINS, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Heath Construction recently completed a critical live-fire training facility for Loveland Fire Rescue Department. The $680,000 Structural Burn Building is a state-of-the-art structure designed and built to withstand 30 years of multiple, daily training fires.

“The addition of a Structural Burn Building to the Loveland Fire Rescue Training Center will provide excellent training opportunities for firefighters,” said Michael Cerovski, training captain for Loveland Fire Rescue Department. “We were fortunate to have an outstanding team for this capital construction project, including Heath Construction, the Belford Watkins Group, architect Don Watkins and Elliot LeBoeuf & Associates.”

The training facility is the latest in a long line of municipal projects for Heath, which also is constructing Loveland’s $7.7 million Fairgrounds Park. Heath has recently served as general contractor for the Platteville-Gilcrest Fire Station, Lafayette Police Facility and the award-winning Estes Park Riverwalk in addition to a wide range of municipal projects in Fort Collins.

The Loveland Fire Rescue Department selected Heath to construct the training facility through a competitive bid process. Working cooperatively with a national live-fire designer and local architect, the Heath team used its broad municipal and commercial experience to complete a facility destined to burn over and over again.

“Heath Construction built Loveland’s downtown fire station several years ago. Working again with the fire department is an honor,” said Randy DeMario, president, Heath Construction.

Built to survive multiple fires, the 2,000-square-foot, two-story, all-concrete structure contains more than 254 yards of concrete reinforced with 20,000 pounds of rebar. It is lined with high-temperature thermal insulation and heat-resistant tiles. Thermocouples monitor room and structure temperatures. Exterior and interior walls are constructed of masonry blocks, enabling the fire department to change floor plans without affecting the building’s structure.

The burn building will provide firefighters safe, yet realistic conditions to train in hose management, fire extinguishment, search and rescue, and ventilation practices. Simulating both residential and commercial conditions, fire fighters will face smoke, heat and fire as they practice entering a burning building from a variety of access points.

Cerovski said the Live-Fire Training Facility will be used daily and made available to other fire-fighting agencies and nonprofit organizations for training and educational purposes.

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June 04, 2008

Shared Tenant Services Pioneer Launches SolarX, a Solar Energy Company Targeting Commercial Real Estate Owners

Alan Hahn Turned a $40MM Investment into a $1.1 Billion Return for Fairchild; Aims to Replicate that Model in Solar Energy Industry Using Focus, a Specialized Team and Technology

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alan Hahn, a career entrepreneur and Silicon Valley “gun for hire” famous for making the shared tenant services (STS) model profitable, has teamed with Peter Fuller, a go-to-market strategist, to found a company that makes solar power a profit center for commercial real estate owners.

According to Hahn, a stalemate to solar adoption exists in commercial real estate. Solar investment costs building owners millions of dollars, with the majority of the benefit flowing to the tenant. Tenants aren’t inclined to invest in the building they rent. These competing interests stall solar adoption in the commercial real estate market, despite a strong desire by both owners and tenants for environmentally friendly, renewable energy. Hahn seeks to end this stalemate by not only covering the capital costs of solar equipment, but also making solar energy a profit center for building owners through the use of his yet-to-be-disclosed technology. His business plan is based on his experience building the STS market and is similar to some Power Purchase Agreements (PPA).

In STS, commercial real estate owners received revenue sharing for long distance service, Internet access and telephone equipment deployed in their buildings. Tenants took advantage of these premium telecommunication services without building owners paying any of the capital costs to provide them. For Fairchild, Hahn grew this business into the most successful STS model in the United States, turning a $40MM investment into a $1.1 billion return and acquiring 21 competitors in just 12 years.

“As was the case in STS, there exists today a real need for a company that removes primary obstacles, such as capital equipment costs, for commercial real estate owners,” said Hahn. “Owners want green energy; tenants want to consume it; and both the environment and nation benefit if commercial real estate makes the move to renewable solar power. That’s why I founded this company.”

In addition to his success at Fairchild in the late 1990’s, Hahn has been an SVP of sales for many Silicon Valley companies. For LogLogic (Sequoia), Hahn built the company’s worldwide sales team and completed more than $5.7MM in sales in 12 months. At Corvigo (Sequoia), he ramped sales that lead to the company’s acquisition for 8x its Series A funding in just six months. Hahn has served on executive teams backed by Kleiner Perkins, Telesoft, Worldview Technology Partners and others.

While at Corvigo, Hahn met Fuller, who was the VP of Marketing. Fuller has 16 years of go-to-market experience in several industries ranging from consumer marketing to security hardware and mobile technologies. Prior to co-founding solarX, he helped launch two industry associations, founded two companies, raised series A capital, and was involved with two successful acquisitions. He has aided prior management in the market launch of nearly a dozen companies backed by Greylock Partners, Cardinal Venture Capital, WorldView Technology Partners, Interwest Partners, True Ventures and others. He's served on executive teams funded by Sequoia Capital, Alloy Ventures, USVP, and CMGI.

“I’ve watched this market mature during the last eight years and have seen many solar service business plans,” said Ephraim Lindenbaum, managing partner of Advance Ventures. “This is by far the best team, with the right focus and technology. The work they’ve done over the last six months sets the stage for some very interesting announcements that will be forthcoming.”

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June 03, 2008

Don't Let Plumbing Problems Throw a Wrench in the Home-Selling Process

WACO, Texas, June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- With today's housing slump, homeowners can't afford to have hidden plumbing problems cost them the sale. To ensure their house passes the home inspection that usually comes with selling, homeowners should examine their plumbing.


By checking plumbing fixtures, homeowners can locate and repair or replace any problems before they put their home up for sale. Many prospective buyers hire a professional home inspector before signing on the dotted line, so finding and fixing problems now could help expedite the closing process later.


"A plumbing checkup can show homeowners what to look for when it comes to leaks, drips and other plumbing problems," said Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of the Mr. Rooter Corporation. "We want to educate and equip homeowners with the information they need to make sure their plumbing is working properly."

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June 02, 2008

Carpet and Rug Institute Earns ANSI Certification For Its Green Carpet Testing Programs

DALTON, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) today announced that it is the first organization within the soft floor covering sector to earn accreditation as a certification body for indoor air quality by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), the premier source for international standardization and conformity assessment.

CRI’s Green Label and Green Label Plus programs, which test for and certify low emissions from carpet, carpet cushion and adhesive, comply with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Guide 65, General requirements for bodies operating product certification programs.

“CRI is proud to have the first and only ANSI-certified green carpet program in the United States,” said CRI President Werner Braun. “We set the standard with the Green Label program, and now we are raising the bar with this prestigious ANSI certification that recognizes best practices for indoor air quality testing and certification.

“Today, indoor air quality is an important environmental consideration, especially since we spend approximately 90 percent of our time indoors,” Braun added. “Architects, builders and specifiers can have full confidence that Green Label and Green Label Plus carpet is a desirable, attractive green building product. They can rest assured they are purchasing the very lowest emitting products on the market.”

CRI began the ANSI certification process in June 2006, which involved audits of the green carpet programs by Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, an ANSI team and CRI’s third party indoor laboratory, Air Quality Science of Atlanta. According to ANSI, a certification body is an impartial third party that tests and evaluates a product to determine its compliance with relevant standards.

In 1992, CRI launched the Green Label program to test carpet, cushions and adhesives for low-emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The program was enhanced and named Green Label Plus in 2002 when California’s Indoor Air Quality Program and the Sustainable Building Task Force approved Green Label Plus certification in lieu of Section 01350, the low-emitting materials criteria for the Collaborative for High Performance School testing protocols (CHPS). Green Label Plus meets and even exceeds Section 01350 in several respects, including testing annually for specific chemicals, testing for six additional chemicals, maintaining a chain of custody process and performing an annual audit of the testing laboratory.

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